John Carroll editorializes about the SCO situation and advocates that the worst it could happen to the Linux OSS market is to have a temporary slow down, and not a collapse. Elsewhere, Sys-Con reports that people started all these conspiracy theories when Microsoft licensed the Unix IP from SCO, but in reality the magazine says, it was something that was on schedule to happen as Microsoft needed the license possibly for a new product of theirs.
What if SCO wins? Why Microsoft Licensed the Unix IP?
2003-05-27 SCO 44 Comments
“This is the explanation he came back with.”
“Shucks, and the conspiracy theory looks so good in print.
Anybody buying this?”
Pretty much gives it away, Eugenia.
She’s letting MS’s words speak for themselves: “The idea of going ahead with the license was initially motivated by wanting to make a statement reinforcing everything we’ve been saying about IP.”
Wait, the main and initial motivation was to support an “issue”? Even if it costs millions, supports a competitor that had once sued you, and was a part of two of MS’s biggest historic competitor’s–Novell and Linux…. for a political issue?
“But if we didn’t have any actual use for the license, it absolutely would not have happened. The fact that the license would make it easier to enhance future versions of Services for Unix was a deciding factor.” So wait, the technological reasons are an after thought, Unix Services never required a license before, and there is no mention of a specific technological advancement that does require a license. Hmm, Microsoft, what is this new functionality and when can we expect it? After all, you pre-announce all other vapor by three to five years.
Sure, M$ is a fine company, with fine people they all want the best for us. Right! keep on dreaming its all about money and power. You cannot beat Oos, and certainly not with dirty tricks and deals. Anyway Linux is here to stay, SCO is going to go bankrupt in less than 2 years and M$ will go in to entertainment powered by Oos just like hotmail.
SCO is going to go bankrupt in less than 2 years
Without the MS funding for for its lawsuit via “licensing” SCO would go bankrupt by November.
Its called MS Services For Unix, and there was a recent update to it.
No conspiracy here…move along
It should be called MS FUD for Linux.
No conspiracy, just a plain coincidence in time & space.
But I agree about the move along. As Linus said, ¨business as usual until I see the allegedly infringing code¨. Which I doubt we´ll ever see.
This lawsuit is a win-all/lose-all strategy. So what happens if (when) SCO loses ? I am not really concerned about McBride and Sontag, and I am sure that Boies will have cashed his check way before the end of the lawsuit, but what happens to Unixware & the rest of the old code ? Who is still going to want that pile of old, hard to maintain code, once the mexican soap opera is over ? What is the value of this IP once it´s proved in Court that Linux doesn´t have any of it, never had and never will have ?
Instead of asking the question ¨What if SCO wins ?¨, why can´t we ask what´s next after they lose (badly) ?
And as Linus would say, SCO claim = Raelian Claim. Until we see some godamn proof.
Sorry, MS Services for Unix is NOT new at all. But even if it is, MS should have gotten some license long ago anyhow, considering how much it has borrowed from the unix world.
Actually, companies like MS are operating in the best of both world. They see and can easily incorporate OSS code, or a modified form of it, into their proprietary systems without anybody knowing. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know Balmer’s BS: “our coders are not even allowed to look at that thing”. yeah right, reminds of that other clain about how there is a chineese wall between Office and Windows developers!!! I mean, MS has even stolen code from companies with more restrictive software licenses! Wouldn’t it be nice if some third party would see all the windows code??
As far as usefulness goes, its ok, pretty good at replicating user accounts between windows active directory and unix from my use…..anyway, back on topic
I hope SCO lose, then have a hundred counter-suits to deal with. Would amuse me. Shame the British Army have jsut given them £3.5 million for unix technology…
There is no real effective Unix IP for SCO to license.
Microsoft’s SFU ( Services for Unix ) and Interix products are in no way depended upon the IP that SCO holds. Softway Systems wrote the NT DDL POSIX compatablity Layer in 1995
and Microsoft aquired Softway in 1999. The OS level was written to the POSIX standards, which insure royalty-free patent access via decades of prior-art. Even official “Unix” branding is the domain of another organization The Open Group.
Interix/SFU actually owes more to the GNU-project.
Gee.. yet another Linux doomsday scenario article. How original.. And this one coming from ZDNet, which is nothing more than mouthpiece of Microsoft. If you didn’t know ZDNet is owned by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft. By the way folks, the article is “Commentary” which is just an opinion by someone. They should have just called it “Advertisement”. I certainly don’t put too much credence to piece of writing like this. Well, I’m back to testing 2.5.70. Joy Joy.
trix is for kids
I am getting extremely sick of all the unsubstantiated claims of certain practices of Microsoft, such as stealing code from other companies… do you have ANY proof of this at all?
OSS is open source for a reason, so anyone can take it, use it, and improve upon it. Instead of having hundreds of different people working on separate projects that do the same thing, you have hundreds of developers working on the same project.
About the Redmond company stealing code from others, they were condemned in november 2001 just for this. You will need Babelfish for the translation, but the article is here : http://www.weblmi.com/news_archives/2001_11_29_Condamnation___Micro…
The softs concerned were Softimage 3D from Microsoft and Character from Syn’x Relief. The accusation was for “counterfeiting, parasitism, unfair and unlawful competition”.
Seems Syn’x Relief were somewhat big at the time. Now, they’re defunct.
Most of us haven’t accused them of anything. MS’s own statement says they are doing this to support another company’s IP claim even though they have no stake in it (if you believe that) purely for idealogical reasons.
They then claim they were going to do this. So:
What about Services for Unix requires a license now?
What is this new functionality going to be?
When are we going to see it and understand it such that we understand they needed to “GIVE” SCO several million dollars?
“OSS is open source for a reason, so anyone can take it, use it, and improve upon it. Instead of having hundreds of different people working on separate projects that do the same thing, you have hundreds of developers working on the same project.” Yes, but this is contrary to what MS is saying. They have already licensed what they need to to provide Unix Services. And they DO state they are trying to beef up SCO’s IP claim over Unix. They AREN’T saying they want Unix to be less constrained and usable by all including them.
Microsoft has been found guilty many times of stealing code. Most notably was the Stac case where Microsoft ripped off another company’s closed source code and simply stuck it in their OS.
Beyond the Stac case, we have the PC1 BIOS code: stolen almost bit-for-bit from Gary Kildall’s CP/M BIOS. We have the Windows interface, copied incompetently from Apple. Not to mention the original versions of Internet Explorer, bought or stolen, depending on who you believe, from Spyglass.
In other cases, Microsoft has used code illegally, i.e. without proper license terms, usually by not including mention of the code in the copyrights area / message box. Pretty much Microsoft has been forced to adhere to the minimal set of ethics that they practice.
And when it comes to stealing the IP of small companies, Microsoft is legendary for getting into business negotiations with little companies, stealing their IP, and then cancelling negotiations. This is with NDA’s and such in place. The reality of business is that a little company for the most part cannot legally challenge a big powerful company like Microsoft. The little company will run out of money for lawyers as Microsoft will appeal the case level by level upwards until the little company goes bankrupt or settles out of court.
Overall, most of the world knows that Microsoft is a thoroughly amoral and unethical company. Your defense of them in the light of all known facts I hope is being paid for. Microsoft’s monopoly on personal computer operating systems has enabled the company to cripple many other companies during the course of time. And Microsoft’s backroom deals with governments has enabled this monopoly to stay around when for the good of the people and of industry Microsoft should have been broken up into smaller companies long ago.
Read more if you like. There’s information all over the net in many languages. Here’s just one site:
>> am getting extremely sick of all the unsubstantiated claims of certain practices of Microsoft, such as stealing code from other companies.
Bud, what planet are you living on?
>> OSS is open source for a reason, so anyone
>> can take it, use it, and improve upon it.
And make sure their improvements are also open-sourced. You seem to miss that little point, but that’s actually the most important part of it.
IIRC Softimage was a Canadian company founded by a husband-wife team that used to make lightweight presentations at Siggraph about animation scripting. For some reason Microsoft bought them out and it turns out those guys stole some of their technology.. OK Microsoft was liable, but I’d cut them some slack on that one.
linux_baby: No, it is not a requirement to put the improvements out into the OSS community, except for the GPL.
“What planet are you living on?” is not proof.
Michael, some hackjobs website is not proof. Nor is anything that you spout unless it is from a credible author, as you are nothing but a troll (as has been shown from your previous posts).
But the website is only referencing legally filed court cases, CPU. What sort of “credible” author do you want? They were brought to caught for copyright or patent infringement over 18 times in 20 years. They didn’t lose every single one, sure, but they have lost or settled a few. Do you need Norman Mailer to write that to believe it?
And you haven’t answered a single one of our questions. Services for Unix does not require any additional licensing. Can you point to any future functionality that would require the licensing of UnixWare?
right if SCO wins the only thing that will change is the source code it will simply be fixed and everyone will move on. the only responsibility of the media is to stirr up the shit and they do it more than a group of high school cheerleaders spereading countless lies about how fat thir unsavory freind is.
If Services for Unix does not require any licensing, then, perhaps, have you thought that MAYBE Microsoft is working on something else, or perhaps plans on beefing up Windows with it?
Keep in mind we still don’t even know exactly what Microsoft has licensed.
Look at any software company, or any sort of egineering company in general, and see how many patent infringment cases there are.
So I see you ran away from your “these sources aren’t credible” claim.
So I take that as a tacit agreement with the fact that MS has stolen or at least been extremely aggressive in an extralegal way to acquire other company’s IP.
So… The Services for Unix claim…. What feature would require the entire Unix system. We do know what they have licensed; its UnixWare. MS already have licenses for its own Unix. Are they now going to build “enterprise class” computing (the IP elements SCO claims are unique to their Unix) on UnixWare? They claim these “features” were planned prior to the lawsuit–even though their own statement makes it clear that it followed. Okay, so what are these new features? MS announces everything three years out at least. I know you have no clue what they are, but why won’t MS answer that question. The idea, the features proceeds the need for licensing clearly… You cannot know you need to license IP without knowing what you intend. So where is their statement as to what they intend?
CPUGuy… I see how you focus on just the patent infringement cases. What about all the times that Microsoft has stolen code or other IP from other companies? What makes you think Microsoft is an ethical company? Microsoft has never demonstrated an ounce of ethics.
In this current case of Microsoft giving SCO money for unknown/unpublished use of unknown/unpublished SCO IP right at the time SCO needs money to sue IBM and other Linux companies… I think Microsoft would want to prove that they are not simply using their gold to screw over Linux.
Yes, Microsoft must prove to the world that they don’t have Weapons of Mass Deception.
And if Microsoft cannot prove this, then we must send hordes of Open Source and Ethics in Business commandoes over there, take them down, and install an Ethical Board and Moral Management Team to whip them into shape.
The worst thing which will happen is that at some point there will be redHatBSD and suseBSD. afterall alsmost any linux app has been ported to *bsd making this whole deal pretty moot especially given that the BSDs are legally on the save side after the lawsuit in the 80s.
As SCO will end up owning all the Linux IP ever created, the Microsoft-SCO merger will be a turning point for world domination.
The new name of the company will be:
“but in reality the magazine says, it was something that was on schedule to happen as Microsoft needed the license for a product of theirs.”
No, it doesn’t. The QUOTE from MS says: “But if we didn’t have any actual use for the license, it absolutely would not have happened. The fact that the license would make it easier to enhance future versions of Services for Unix was a deciding factor.”
MS cannot point to any specific future product or any real requirement. They do not have a schedule. They do not have a product.
The article clearly mocks this. And yet, once it gets into Eugenia’s hands, it comes out with a nice conciliatory spin.
No, I did not run away from the incredible sources claim.
Can you show me an article that says what piece they licensed? I would love to know, really.
Michael: Microsoft’s business tactics are not far off of ANY other American business… this is not to say that I support them, but don’t just focus on Microsoft when every single other company is doing the same exact thing.
To chime something else in — SCO’s IP is limited to the SVR4 UNIX code. Most of the important IP SCO owns is in the Unixware kernel. Microsoft’s UNIX services product has little to do with kernel code. It is mostly user-level interoperability stuff. Most of the IP relating to that stuff is either public domain (because of so much prior art and free implementations) or owned by other companies (like NFS in the case of Sun). Further, SCO doesn’t own the UNIX brandname, so the naming isn’t an issue here.
So Windows Services for UNIX is unlikely to be the target of the IP. So what else does Microsof thave that could benefit from SCO IP? The Windows kernel? Highly unlikely — the Caldera devs who worked on Linux pointed out that Linux was different enough that the SCO kernel code would have been too hard to integrate. Windows isn’t even a UNIX-like OS, so the possibility of that is minimal. CPUGuy is hypothesizing some new product that MS is going to release. Maybe some next-gen UNIX services that *does* require some kernel-level IP. Microsoft isn’t Apple. They don’t keep product announcements secret. If something was going to come out, we would have heard about it last year.
Thus, you really have to strech your logic to come up with a case that keeps Microsoft looking clean. The simplest explanation, and one that goes along with Microsoft’s previous FUD tactics against the GPL, is that Microsoft timed this IP licensing to legitimize SCO’s claims, and thus put pressure on Linux. That best case (for MS) situation is that they’re merely being opportunistic. If you’re a little more paranoid, you can go ahead and believe that Microsoft is paying more than market price for this IP, and funding SCO’s defense. If you’re really paranoid, you can believe that MS is behind the whole thing, and induced SCO into doing this.
Sco is doing Linux a favor by doing this (in a way.) The dubious legal status of linux (as admited to by Red Hat and others) has hung over Linux like a sword of Damocles. By resolving this issue, when Sco inevitably loses, the road is clear for more corporate involvement and traditionally careful coprporate legal types will have less (if any) objections to Linux deployment.
The insane thing is how straightforward MS is in this quote if it is reliable (Maureen mentions that it comes second hand).
But they clearly state that there interest is in supporting someone wlse who wants to exert IP rights over code and keep it proprietary. Clearly the parties involved matter too (After all, SCO and MS aren’t the best of friends.) Sure, they try to claim they have some use for it, but this is a joke. Their words are revealing.
First they were “considering” a license. Well, if specific functionality requires it, there is nothing to consider. Either you do or you break the law. Are they saying they were considering it just to hand some cash to SCO?
Then we get: “The idea of going ahead with the license was initially motivated by wanting to make a statement reinforcing everything we’ve been saying about IP.” Not because they have any stake in it–but because SCO now feels every code should be owned and have a price, which is MS’s position. But no one agrees with either of them. Great.
Then we get the dodge: “But if we didn’t have any actual use for the license, it absolutely would not have happened.” Okay, but if you have a use and need for the license, it should be easy to state what that is–even if it is going to take 400 years to implement. So what is it?
Freakin hilarious. Let’s get the whole quote just to hear the arrogance with which they state the true reason (support SCO/hurt Linux and IBM) and faint a real reason (future features for SforU):
“The idea of getting a SCO license had been under consideration prior to the IBM lawsuit. Then the suit came along. The lawsuit was seen as indirect supporting our position on the value of IP. Since other software vendors who depend on software licenses haven’t been exactly falling all over themselves to support our position, seeing something that supported it was welcome. The idea of going ahead with the license was initially motivated by wanting to make a statement reinforcing everything we’ve been saying about IP. But if we didn’t have any actual use for the license, it absolutely would not have happened. The fact that the license would make it easier to enhance future versions of Services for Unix was a deciding factor. The license was not seen as a way to underwrite SCO’s legal fees.”
what if the prophecy is true?
what if tomorrow the war could be over?
“I want OUT!”
I agree that it’s good to get the legal issues out of the way for dussins of reasons.
And that it would bring more commercial support is not one of them. Face the fact here… it’s GPL, and GPL is made by cheap people for cheap people. Not very commercial at all, and it’s not likely to be the basis for serious commercial companies, such as Adobe.
Linux is here, but not to stay, that’s the general idea here… it’s just an invention of political ideas rather than good software development. I guess that’s why BSD software generally outruns GPL stuff in any field, it’s done by developers, not by politicians…
Best end to this would be that Linux is sent down the drain so people place efforts in BSD instead.
I agree. These cheap Linux bastards, how dare they write code in their own spare time under their own choice of license!!! I hope that anyone who even dares to think of releasing OSS code is put in Camp X-Ray for supporting terrorism. We need more good old-fashioned proprietary, buggy and underfeatured software. I prefer the Mac model myself, where every little utility is shareware. Want double-click shading of window title bars? Pay $20. Want virtual desktops? Pay $30. Want to use a wheel mouse? Way $15.
Do you have any idea what you’re talking about?
1) The GPL has nothing to do with “cheap.” The GPL is about freedom. Look at it this way: there are lots of laws on the books that prevent people from making money. You can’t sell your children for labor. You can’t dump toxic waste down the sewage system. Those things make sense from a “profit maximization” standpoint, but the laws are there because somebody recognized that there are some things, in fact lots of things, more important than making a profit.
2) In general, the people who write OSS software aren’t doing it to get rid of commercial developers. They’re doing it because they want to write software for the community, but don’t want commercial entities using their work to make a profit. Linus himself is definately apolitical.
3) The GPL isn’t necessarily a bad idea for commercial software. Take SGI, for example. If they open source’ed IRIX tomorrow, do you really think they’d lose profits? The people buying IRIX aren’t just going to go and download IRIX ISO’s off KaZaA. Take TrollTech for another example. GPL or no GPL, if a company ships closed source software that links with Qt, but that company hasn’t paid for Qt developer licenses, TrollTech has a legal case against them. Also note that there is absolutely nothing in the GPL that says you must make binaries available for free. Usually, GPL software is written such that someone can compile and distribute copies of that software, but suffice it to say that people would never buy database software on a $3 CDR from cheapbytes. Also, never overlook the “pay for support” option. Most corporate users already have support accounts for their important closed source software. In a pinch, a business user wants the company to stand behind the software and provide support immedietly. The software being GPL isn’t going to change that.
4) In some respects, BSD software isn’t well adapted to meet with the changing times. BSD software came about in the heyday of computer science — when open source came about as a manifestation of the academic nature of software research. Today, with software research moving to the commercial sector (and changing its very nature in the process) and even universities becoming heavily commercialized, the BSD license just doesn’t protect the openness that is so critical to a successful academic environment. GPL software, on the other hand, can keep its open, academic roots while still being competitive in a commercial world. XBe, if Linux is sent down the drain, and along with it the Free Software (as distinguished from the Open Source) movement, then the software world would be a much sadder place. Imagine, if you will, that all scientific research was relagated to commercial companies, and in the interest of profit maximization, knowledge was strictly controlled by IP laws. I don’t think anyone wants the equivilent of that scenario to occur in the software industry.
Is this coincidence. Windows 2003 comes out SCO sues Linux.
Now I am seeing tons of Marketing ads in TV, Tech Magazines that win2003 will save you money and on the other side it reads linux is getting sued.
Micrsoft is known for their dirty tricks and buying the Justice department. Microsoft is above the law since they hav e so much. It is shocking to see the our Goverment is eeking advice on security from Bill Gates.
MS is doing the same thing to linux that they did to Java , Netscape. MS never takes prisoners.
Microsoft is just using SCO as FUD, they are not directly controlling SCO they are just supporting the FUD by buying a Liscence. Already some Linux companies have began to sue SCO over unfounded and damaging claims.
SCO cannot hold out for long and when they fail Linux will become legally stronger. This is just another part of the revolution.
In either case:
I find the whole crap about IP really irritating. THere is NO SENSE to any of these laws because plain and simple, they are laws based on GREED, not ethics.
Without throwing a rant, I find it extremly interesting that the United States intellectual Property Laws allows Microsoft to steal GNU code, or better yet, SCO to make these sorts of accusations, yet, if you actually were to READ or FIND ANY of the source that SCO claims was copied, or Microsoft stole, your ass would wind up in jail because you didn’t have thier permission to do so.
These so called “intellectual property” “laws” are nothing more than a method and means to rip people off in my view, to increase prices on software.
If they are followed to thier logical extent, and by that I mean, if you take these laws in the direction DRM, EULA’s and every software license you see, you find the logical conclusion is:
Eventually it will be illegal to write any software, and if you want to do it, you first have to pay someone to write software, and even then, you don’t own the computer, the software or the idea, OR the scientific principles or procedures for constructing the algorithm!
It is rediculous, and it has to be stopped, otherwise, these draconian measures are going to destroy the IT industry, at least whats left of it, in the US.
We need more good old-fashioned proprietary, buggy and underfeatured software.
ehrr, are you telling me that Linux distros provide more quality than for instance Solaris. LOOOOOOL
1) The GPL has nothing to do with “cheap.” The GPL is about freedom.
Actually this is exactly what BSD is about. GPL is about restricting.
2) In general, the people who write OSS software aren’t doing it to get rid of commercial developers. They’re doing it because they want to write software for the community, but don’t want commercial entities using their work to make a profit
Can it be more political than that? This is just a huge contradiction in itself.
3) The GPL isn’t necessarily a bad idea for commercial software.
What would you say is worse? It forces proprietary software companies who has an idea to start from scratch rather than using FREE code which is already written. If it’s possible to make good business using GPL, Then I find it pretty embarassing that these very companies are not doing very well economically. But like you said before, it’s about restricting not making things free.
, the BSD license just doesn’t protect the openness that is so critical to a successful academic environment. GPL software, on the other hand, can keep its open, academic roots while still being competitive in a commercial world.
Protect/restrict openness. It’s not about academics it’s about making good software. That was just another political statement on your side. GPL forces it open, meaning that if a company decides to make the best Office suite out there for instance, they cannot use code from OOo and improve, but they rather have to start from scratch and if they fail next company also start from square 1. If you don’t understand this, look at the Be community.
OBviously the GPL software that I assume you refer to isn’t very innovative neither which is the big drive that commercial companies offer. However, assuming there’s no market for commercial companies, innovation just stop.
Developers who write to GIVE without restrictions to the community, they just can’t use GPL, because that’s not giving.
I think you and Linus are extremelly political. Me myself encourage evolution in computer science… less restrictions, more evolution.
>I think you and Linus are extremelly political. Me myself
>encourage evolution in computer science… less restrictions,
Yeah right, you are the man. GPL sux and BSD is great.
What is your point rather than ranting about something you will not accept or understand? Or you sure your BSD does not contain any GPL code?
Today’s installement of “Good Grief” is far shorter than most:
CPUGuy = Troll. A fairly skilled one, but nonetheless.
Original articles in the WALL STREET JOURNAL.
Novell owns the UNIX IP, not SCO —
Mr. Darl McBride
President and CEO
The SCO Group
Re: SCO’s “Letter to Linux Customers”
As you know, Novell recently announced some important Linux initiatives. These include an upcoming NetWare version based on the Linux kernel, as well as collaboration and resource management solutions for Linux.
Put simply, Novell is an ardent supporter of Linux and the open source development community. This support will increase over time.
It was in this context that we recently received your “Letter to Linux Customers.” Many Novell business partners and customers apparently received the same letter. Your letter compels a response from Novell.
As we understand the letter, SCO alleges that unnamed entities incorporated SCO’s intellectual property into Linux without its authorization. You apparently base this allegation on a belief that these unnamed entities copied some UNIX System V code into Linux. Beyond this limited understanding, we have been unable to glean any further information about your allegation because of your letter’s vagueness.
In particular, the letter leaves certain critical questions unanswered. What specific code was copied from UNIX System V? Where can we find this code in Linux? Who copied this code? Why does this alleged copying infringe SCO’s intellectual property? By failing to address these important questions, SCO has failed to put us on meaningful notice of any allegedly infringing Linux code, and thus has withheld from us the ability – and removed any corresponding obligation – to address your allegation.
As best we can determine, the vagueness about your allegation is intentional. In response to industry demands that you be more specific, you attempt to justify your vagueness by stating, “That’s like saying, ‘show us the fingerprints on the gun so you can rub them off.'” (Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2003) Your analogy is weak and inappropriate. Linux has existed for over a decade, and there are plenty of copies in the marketplace with which SCO could attempt to prove its allegation.
We are aware that you recently offered to disclose some of the alleged Linux problems to Novell and others under a nondisclosure agreement. If your offer is sincere, it may be a step in the right direction. But we wonder whether the terms of the nondisclosure agreement will allow Novell and others in the Linux community to replace any offending code. Specifically, how can we maintain the confidentiality of the disclosure if it is to serve as the basis for modifying an open source product such as Linux? And if we cannot use the confidential disclosure to modify Linux, what purpose does it serve?
In your letter, you analogize SCO’s campaign against the Linux community to that of the record industry against major corporations whose servers contained downloaded music files. There are crucial differences between the two campaigns. The record industry has provided specific information to back up its allegation, while SCO steadfastly refuses to do so. In its allegation letter, the record industry provides evidence of allegedly infringing activity that is specific to the targeted company. This offers the company real notice of the activity, sufficient information to evaluate the allegation, and an opportunity to stop the activity if it determines the allegation is true. If SCO wants to compare its actions to those of the record industry, it should follow the example set by that industry and present specific evidence of the alleged infringement.
SCO claims it has specific evidence supporting its allegation against the Linux community. It is time to substantiate that claim, or recant the sweeping and unsupported allegation made in your letter. Absent such action, it will be apparent to all that SCO’s true intent is to sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt about Linux in order to extort payments from Linux distributors and users.
This true intent becomes clearer when one considers various public statements you and other SCO personnel have made about SCO’s intellectual property rights in UNIX. SCO continues to say that it owns the UNIX System V patents, yet it must know that it does not. A simple review of U.S. Patent Office records reveals that Novell owns those patents.
Importantly, and contrary to SCO’s assertions, SCO is not the owner of the UNIX copyrights. Not only would a quick check of U.S. Copyright Office records reveal this fact, but a review of the asset transfer agreement between Novell and SCO confirms it. To Novell’s knowledge, the 1995 agreement governing SCO’s purchase of UNIX from Novell does not convey to SCO the associated copyrights. We believe it unlikely that SCO can demonstrate that it has any ownership interest whatsoever in those copyrights. Apparently, you share this view, since over the last few months you have repeatedly asked Novell to transfer the copyrights to SCO, requests that Novell has rejected. Finally, we find it telling that SCO failed to assert a claim for copyright or patent infringement against IBM.
SCO’s actions are disrupting business relations that might otherwise form at a critical time among partners around Linux technologies, and are depriving these partners of important economic opportunities. We hope you understand the potential significant legal liability SCO faces for the possible harm it is causing to countless customers, developers, and other Linux community members. SCO’s actions, if carried forward, will lead to the loss of sales and jobs, delayed projects, canceled financing, and a balkanized Linux community.
We, like others, are concerned about the direction of SCO’s campaign. For now, we demand that SCO either promptly state its Linux infringement allegations with specificity or recant the accusation made in your letter. Further, we demand that SCO retract its false and unsupported assertions of ownership in UNIX patents and copyrights or provide us with conclusive information regarding SCO’s ownership claims. In the future, we hope SCO will adhere to standards of strict accuracy when stating its rights in UNIX.
Jack L. Messman
Chairman, President and CEO
It is so PAINFULLY OBVIOUS that SCO was being a STOOGE for their masters at MICROSOFT.
If Novell comes out in a POLITICAL statement, you know something is terribly terribly AMISS.
And it begs the now laughable question ‘just what did Microsoft get for that license?’ … clearly there was no real IP to license since SCO DOESN’T OWN ANY.
This is a powerful message, coming from Novell. I guess there wasn’t a problem with the water in Provo, Utah after all 🙂
I didn’t know Novell still held the System V patents. The rest we did know, but it might be news to some corporate customers and Wall Street speculators (oops, investors). Also, he argues them forcefully and well.